Dishcrawl Hamilton will definitely go down as one of my summer highlights (but stay tuned to them for upcoming events this fall!). I was excited to go on another Crawl and eat my weight in delicious local food. This time, we ventured to the lovely Dundas.
It turned into a Crossover blog adventure when I learned that Nicole and Kim of the video blog Steel and the City would be part of the group. I had met Nicole a few times already and we had been trying for a while now to get together to explore the city. It was fun to Dishcrawl-it-up with the duo.
Our first stop came as no surprise – Detour Cafe (41 King Street West). We learned that Detour has been in downtown Dundas for three years and run by husband and wife team Kaelin and Crystal. The cafe and restaurant is New Zealand-infused, where Crystal is originally from. They focus on making as much from scratch as possible.
We were presented with a good variety of their cuisine: quinoa salad, fish & chips (they were actual kettle chips!), braised beef, and deep fried mac & cheese. The consensus between myself, Kim, Nicole, and my dad who joined me, was that the fish & chips were our favourite.
Detour also offers weekly Friday Night Dinners which have become very popular. They took a break for the summer but are back in swing for the fall. Be sure to make reservations, as spots fill up quickly. They also recommend signing up for their email list so that you are the first to get the scoop.
In true Dishcrawl fashion, we were treated to a little live entertainment as we were en route to stop number two. Local bagpipe player Mark Fletcher awaited us with a song. Out of all of the musical interludes I’ve experienced during Dishcrawls, this one required the most stamina on the part of the performer! But he didn’t miss a beat (or a breath?) as he led us to our second stop – Nellie James (144 King Street West).
Nellie James was a completely new discovery for me. Formerly called Chef & Wife, they began as a catering company in 2000 and opened a storefront in downtown Dundas in 2004. It’s gourmet food to-go. Check out the website for their weekly specials. Being a catering and take-away spot, we didn’t know what to expect as we were led into a secret garden area behind the shop.
Chef Ken LeFebour prepared creative appetizers for us to sample as we mingled in the backyard. Nellie James works with local farmers and suppliers and is dedicated to preparing real food, using no additives or preservatives. The chalkboard menu boasted some intriguing items:
– “Koike” Zucchini with Saint Mary’s goat cheese, basil and pickled watermelon rind
– Candy cane beet, in-house smoked chicken, “Jepson” lamb jelly and red wine syrup
– “Jepson” pork tenderloin on a blue cheese biscuit with bourbon reduction
I’ll admit, I don’t know what half of that means. Dishcrawl organizer Dave Hanley put it best – it’s food of the future. So much so, I accidentally ate some of the garnish, being unable to differentiate it from the actual food. Hey, live dangerously! There’s nothing I won’t try at Dishcrawl.
From there, it was onward to the next stop – India Village (100 King Street West). Singer Sara London greeted us inside the restaurant with a song. The restaurant is small and very pleasant and decorated in rich, warm colours. They also have an additional location in Ancaster.
Dishes were passed around the tables to share between us. We compiled our own plates by taking a sample from each and passing it along. India Village served chicken coconut curry, chana masala, vegetable pakora, and basmati rice. With the exception of the naan bread, all was gluten-free. The veg pakora was my favourite – very tasty.
You can always count on Dishcrawl to throw a curveball. As we contemplated what dessert would be, Dave told us to round a corner to find out. In a parking lot waiting for us was food truck Crazy Cravings. The self-serve ice cream truck was started by husband and wife team Jeff and Andrea in May of 2012. Andrea is from Brazil where self-serve ice cream shops are popular.
Crazy Cravings serves at a lot of events. They’ve done everything from festivals to proms. It would be such a festive addition to any party. They even had an iPod dock playing some tunes.
The only danger with self-serve ice cream is getting a little carried away. You may be in for a different kind of treat when you weigh your dish or cone and spend a little more than intended! True to the truck’s namesake, I went a little cray (yeah, I said it). There were so many flavours to choose from and an overwhelming array of toppings. I scooped some Black Raspberry Thunder, Cotton Candy, and Cherry Bordeaux, with rainbow sprinkles on top. When Nicole asked me what my ice cream theme was, I declared, “PINK!”
Nicole, Kim, and I strategically waited to step into the truck last, in order to carefully plan out our desserts. Nicole was all about the cookies, with cookie dough, Oreo toppings, chocolate sauce, and a cone turned upside-down on top of it all (a genius move, because cone vs. cup is such a difficult decision). All flavours and toppings are listed on their website – a helpful tip for next time.
Another successful Dishcrawl Hamilton for the books! Watch Steel and the City’s video blog about the evening.
Dishcrawl Hamilton has some exciting events lined up for the fall. Get your tickets now for the first Hamilton Battledish happening on Sunday, October 27th on Locke Street.
Note: I received a media pass to attend Dishcrawl, but all thoughts about the night are my own.